Confrontation is a necessary step in team growth and as a leader you have to be well equipped to handle it when it comes.
It is important that you find ways to bring certain conflicts in your team to the surface and have your team work through them without you becoming the “issue” attempting to resolve the issues at hand. You need to be focused and composed while you keep your team productive and this requires faith, courage and discipline.
Always view conflict as an opportunity to bring the best out of a team. Resolve conflicts not by choosing your favourites, but by doing the right thing. It may be a strenuous process but it requires persistence and endurance on both the part of the leader and team members.
Consider the following guidelines when you are in a situation where you will have to deal with conflict. In order to orchestrate the conflict, here are a few points to assist you:
- Time: Set a specific time where you will meet with your team regarding this issue.
- Environment: Create an environment where your entire team will feel safe. Unavoidably there are going to be differences and you cannot be seen as ostracising certain team members. Only where possible, it is a good idea to take your team off-site where they can get a different perspective and have neutral ground.
- Prepare: Before you bring your team together, ensure that you have the facts of the situation.
- Address: Revisit your team vision and goals as well as individual expectations. Address the conflict and source thereof and how it is affecting the overall performance of the team.
- Get each view on the table: Allow your team members to express and articulate their position and arguments.
- “Orchestrate” the conflict: Unambiguously articulate the competing views and positions you are hearing. As your team members start to hear their own views expressed by you, there might be a rise in tension, but keep on reminding them why you are going through this process. It is to bring healing and progress and eliminate unproductivity.
- Emphasise unity: Remind your team that you are different individuals working towards a united goal.
- Innovate: Encourage your team to see something good coming from the process, a new idea and way of working. Your role is to eliminate any feeling of guilt or condemnation and to ensure that there is a positive outcome and something to work towards.
Working through conflict is a strenuous process and requires tenacity and endurance on both the part of the leader and team members. Do not view the conflict as a negative but as an opportunity to bring out the best in every team member.
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